Minister Tufton: Nurses and other healthcare professionals are next on the agenda
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — The government is looking to hire more than 1,000 new, permanent doctors over the next year or more, according to Minister of Health & Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton.
The move is an effort to shore up the country’s healthcare system in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also to provide better standards of care to the Jamaican populace.
While delivering a speech in the House of Representatives recently, the minister said, “These are the numbers: permanent posts, as opposed to short-term contracts, for 789 doctors currently in the system.
“New posts of 1,112 doctors to be filled over time, and 140 posts that were established to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
All of the permanent positions will also fall under the recent compensation overhaul in the public sector.
The overhaul had been a long time coming, and government officials like Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke have promised that it will bring better wages to the public service.
Even further, Minister Tufton said that while this first round of expanding permanent positions is for doctors, other healthcare professions — including nurses — are next up on the list.
More healthcare jobs in Jamaica means better service
One of the benefits of the compensation overhaul that was frequently highlighted was the potential for better service for the Jamaican public.
Government officials emphasized that better-paid workers provide a higher level of service, and that their employer — the government itself — would likewise be expecting stronger performance from civil servants.
Tufton likewise said the move to create more permanent jobs for doctors in Jamaica is expected to augur well for employees, the government and the general public.
He noted, “That…over 2,000 permanent posts [will] impact service quality for the people of Jamaica.
“This means less patient-to-doctor ratio, more specialists in the system, more doctors at the primary/community healthcare and also in the hospitals.”
Further, he added, “When we have more doctors, it means patients will get better care.
“This government cares about those who go to the public health system.”
Meanwhile, for med school students looking for opportunities, the new permanent positions could represent a light at the end of the tunnel and a clear path to start their careers.
In the long-run, more initiatives like this, alongside the compensation overhaul, could possibly help to address brain drain, as poor compensation and lack of adequate job opportunities have been identified as two major reasons for brain drain in the country.